The government of Canada plans to help
Ukraine export its stranded wheat to nations where it is in high demand, its
foreign affairs minister announced on Monday 16 May.
Russia has blockaded Ukraine's seaports,
trapping dozens of foreign-flagged vessels and about 20 million tonnes of
Ukrainian grain. That agricultural cargo - primarily wheat - is essential to
food supplies in many developing nations, particularly in the Middle East and
"Solidarity Lanes" by the EU
With Ukraine's Sea of Azov coast under
Russian control and its Black Sea ports under seige, the options for getting its
grain to export markets are limited. Its closest alternative is the Romanian
port of Constanta, reachable by land transport and by inland barge; however,
the potential volume is restricted by multiple bottlenecks. The EU has stepped
up with the creation of "Solidarity Lanes" to speed cross-border
transport of grain cargoes by road and rail, facilitating onward delivery to EU
ports for export.
Canada is joining the effort, foreign
minister Melanie Joly announced on Monday. “We are on this. We are in solution
mode and it’s Canada’s contribution to making sure that we participate in this
great mission of freeing the Ukrainian wheat," Joly told Canadian media.
Canada plans to
dispatch cargo ships to pick up Ukrainian wheat in Romania and other Black Sea
deliver the food where it is needed most - countries like Egypt and Lebanon,
which get a substantial share of their sustenance from Ukraine's wheat fields.
Russia's war has created a "potential food crisis," Joly told
Politico, and the West needs "to do more to show African countries, Latin
American countries and Middle Eastern countries and Asian countries that we are
there to share solutions."
World Food Program director David Beasley
has warned of an impending humanitarian disaster if Ukraine's wheat remains
stuck in storage
The cost of
inaction will be higher than anyone can imagine
“Right now, Ukraine’s
grain silos are full. At the same time, 44 million people around the world are
marching towards starvation. We have to open up these ports so that food can
move in and out of Ukraine. The world demands it because hundreds of millions
of people globally depend on these supplies," Beasley said Friday.
"We’re running out of time and the cost of inaction will be higher than
anyone can imagine. I urge all parties involved to allow this food to get out
of Ukraine to where it’s desperately needed so we can avert the looming threat